What’s this illustration for?
This was in my first book, Louise Builds a House, published over twenty years ago. The artwork was about to go to the printers, but my editor decided to change the original pic, so I did this in under an hour, and couriered it to her. The text for this page says "and a drawbridge to draw fish on". I've always liked the play on words, although the drawing and painting is very simplistic I think it works in this book.
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
I think of things for years and years, and I write them down in notebooks. Although I have the ideas for two books when I was in emergency wards with acute asthma (which is weird now I think of it.)
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I studied Graphic Design in the hope of becoming an illustrator. After I graduated I did children's fabric design, and I also did magazine illustrations. The idea for my first book was from a project I did in Graphic Design- designing the perfect art school.
Who or what has influenced your work?
I have always read a lot. I think reading is the key to being an illustrator- one needs to really extend the text, not just decorate it. I like the work of Herge, and Jean de Brunhoff, Pat Hutchins and Janet Ahlberg, to name just a few.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
Black ink outlines (I still use Rapidographs) and watercolour paint (Old Holland is my favourite)
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
No, I think it's always hard work.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
And the best?
What are you working on at the moment?
Not a book at the moment, but several commissions and a commercial project.
Where can we see more of your work?